Police Public Safety Psychology Degree

What does a Police & Public Safety Psychologist do?

Police and public safety psychology is a branch of psychology which involves the application of psychological methods and principals in the context of law enforcement. According to information from the American Psychological Association (APA), these are professionals who possess the following professional skills and knowledge:

  • An understanding of the functions that police carry out
  • How public safety organizations are structured
  • An understanding of the different working conditions in law enforcement
  • What are the common stressors which are encountered in public safety work
  • How to adapt and cope with occupational stress and trauma
  • The aspects of confidentiality and testimony privilege, especially in regard to providing services for public safety officials and agencies

Jobs in law enforcement and in various other public safety roles can be harrowing work. Police and public safety psychologists are therefore concerned with assisting these individuals and organizations to carry out their jobs effectively while keeping their health, safety, and conformity to the law and ethics in mind.

Police and public safety psychology involves applying principles of psychology to four basic domains:

  • Assessment
  • Clinical Intervention
  • Operational Support
  • Organizational Consultation

What training does a Police & Public Safety Psychologist need?

In order to become a police and public safety psychologist, you need to hold a doctoral degree. In addition to that, you will be required to have completed an internship or fellowship in this specific area of psychology.

Depending upon the state you intend to practice in, you may need a license or certification from the relevant state agency.

Some of the additional areas in which police and public safety psychologists must have training include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Wellness coaching
  • How to set up peer support teams
  • Short-term cognitive behavioral treatments
  • Suicide intervention training
  • Hostage negotiation
  • What epidemiological factors could affect outcomes of various tactical situations
  • Criminal profiling
  • EMDR
  • Psychological autopsy

The educational requirements for Police & Public Safety Psychology

In order to become a police and public safety psychologist, this is generally the course you have to follow:

Steps to become a police and public safety psychologist:

1. Get an undergraduate degree in psychology

2. Get a master’s degree in Police & Public Safety Psychology

3. Get a Ph.D. in Police & Public Safety Psychology

4. Get relevant training and experience

In some cases, licensure or certification is essential in order to practice.

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

At the undergraduate level there is no dedicated program to Police & Public Safety Psychology. Instead, students will have to enroll in a general psychology program and take courses which are relevant to the career they intend to pursue.

Degree Duration Some of the courses offered
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology 4 years
  • Social psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Introduction to research methods
  • Forensic psychology

Master’s Degree in Police and Public Safety Psychology

Since Police and public safety psychology is still a relatively new field, there is no dedicated graduate program in this area. Instead, those looking to pursue a career in this field should enroll in a master’s degree in clinical psychology with a concentration in police and public safety psychology.

Degree Duration Some of the courses offered

Master’s in Police and Public Safety Psychology 

2 years

  • Forensics
  • Police and public safety
  • Consulting psychology
  • Correctional psychology
  • Psychology of crime
  • Victimology

Ph.D. in Police and Public Safety Psychology

In order to work as a police and public safety psychologist you need to have a doctoral degree in the field. At this level, you will receive all of the relevant training in psychological principles and how they can be used and applied in the context of law enforcement and public safety.

As part of the program, you may also have to complete a supervised internship as well as a dissertation.

Degree Duration Some of the courses offered

Ph.D. in Police and Public Safety Psychology

2-4 years

  •  Police psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Criminal behavior

Career prospects and salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific information for police and public safety psychologists. In order to get a rough idea of how much these professionals can earn, take a look at the median salary figures for psychologist by and large:

Job Title Median Salary (May 2015) Expected Job Growth
Psychologists $72,580 19%
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists

 

$70,580 N/A
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists $77,350 N/A
Psychologists, All Other $94,590 N/A

By considering the salary figures for psychologists across the board, you can get a rough idea about how much police and public safety psychologists earn. Keep in mind that the specific salary you may earn will depend upon your level of education, amount of experience, and employer.

 

 

Ask your Question


* All Fields are Required
Call Now(877) 721-2529